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This was a small island in the middle of a lake in Corinthia, Austria. There were poplars growing in a straight line, and from the edge of the lake at night you could see this island lit up, the trees glowing in the moonlight. It was magical and looked so mysterious and romantic. I went there in the daytime and it was nothing like that image...not so magical after all. Still, the image remained in my mind, the illusion of the image and what it represented - intriguing, mysterious and beautiful - and I knew I had to paint it.
I am a painter and digital artist living and working in St Albans, Hertfordshire. I studied Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire between 1999 - 2003. I have been making art for over 20 years, and have exhibited widely in the UK since 2003. My work is in private collections in England, The Netherlands, Germany, USA and Dubai.
I was born in Berlin, Germany and when I was twelve, moved with my parents to Liberia, West Africa. After that I lived in Suriname, (South America), North America, Liberia again and finally England, over 25 years ago.
I have been interested in and surrounded by art all my life. My father Eddy Smith was a German artist of Scottish extraction who was well-known for his powerful, subversive copper-etchings and portraits of Berlin society figures in pre-and post-war Germany. And, although his paintings, etchings and drawings were always there for me to see, and I was always drawing, I did not want to follow in his footsteps (if that were even possible) until much later.
And, I was not in a position to get serious about my art until the ripe age of forty-five. I had travelled and lived in six different countries on four different continents (Europe, Africa, South America, and North America) before settling in England some twenty five years ago. As a young Mum and later as a working Mum, I attended a variety of evening and extra-mural courses and summer courses to explore life drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking and textile design.
I always knew that I wanted more than this but it wasn’t until 1999 that I finally took the plunge and quit my well-paying, high-pressured job as a software sales exec for an American company to enroll in a one year, full-time foundation course in Art and Design at the University of Hertfordshire. This exiting and exhilarating course opened so many doors and possibilities for me that I hadn’t even known existed that I decided to embark upon the part-time BA Hons. Fine Arts Degree course – a step I had previously not seriously considered.
Houses and landscapes are very important to me. In my work I attempt to capture the essence of these - places and houses lived in long ago whose vivid colours and smells, whose windows and doorways have lingered at the edge of my memory. I explore the relationship between the reality of the place or object and the imagined reality, in order to transform often quite ordinary images so that they become exotic and mysterious. I try to create an illusion, a feeling of heightened awareness in my images which in their final version often bear no resemblance to the original but have become enhanced and imbued with a dreamlike quality. Our memories too work like that – we often see past events and places in our minds’ eye in an enhanced way, and give them qualities they never really had.
I try to capture these fragmented memories, these feelings, in my work. But my paintings and digital work also reflect my interest in lines and symmetry, in mark making, colour, textures and layers. In my work I use a variety of media such as inks, oils, household paint and acrylics. I work on paper, card and canvas. When I make use of digital imagery I sometimes fuse a digitally created image or old photograph with one or several of my paintings, to arrive at an image which incorporates the essence of what a particular place or memory holds for me. I want to transform the ordinary to an object or place of mystery and sometimes beauty.
My artwork is quite varied and often jumps between the abstract and the figurative - I like working in this way as I find it very liberating. In my digital art I fuse parts of my paintings and photographs and through juxtaposition create new and different meanings.
This process often has unexpected results and produces images which are new and exciting. For me, this process of exploring, experimenting and improvising is as satisfying as the end result.
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